Reflection: Perseverance Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 2 of Project) - Section 3: Independent Group Work -- Developing Storyline


I know that class time is valuable and fleeting.  I'm often asked by my colleagues (who hear about my classes' video productions) how I can possibly justify a week on this and why I think it is a valuable learning experience.  Many teachers use video production as a culminating project--there is nothing new about that.  Not many devote a significant portion of class time to ensuring students are successful and supported during the process.  These are my arguments in favor of devoting a week (YES! An entire week!) to this particular project.

1.  My students needed to learn conservation of matter more fully than I had been teaching them.  For my first two years of teaching, the category of lowest performance for my chemistry students was "Conservation of Matter."  This was tested on district benchmark tests and students demonstrated understanding by explaining what happened on the molecular level during a chemical reaction.  My students were not mastering this content, in spite of me spending significant class time devoted to it.

2.  Students are engaged when they can be creative and produce something tangible.  Having a fully finished product at the end of all their work is deeply rewarding.  They also get to engage in relationship building during the process within their working groups and learn a multitude of cooperative skills (21st Century Competencies!!).

3.  There is nothing as demoralizing as trying really hard to complete a task, not having the necessary support, and failing at that task.  If my students are going to have a successful product that addresses the chemistry content I specify, at the level of understanding necessary, and does it neatly dressed in a package they can be proud of, they need support.  I would not feel comfortable expecting my students to master the content, work in a group I have assigned them, and produce a high quality video (complete with sound, stop animation, and inserted text labels) without having someone to help guide them.

Even though a week seems like a really long period of time to devote to one project, the results are well worth it.  The year I implemented this project, Conservation of Matter became one of my students' highest performing categories--and the extra time spent on these videos did not sacrifice other content.  It really made learning the content the first time possible without the need to re-teach it later.

  An Entire WEEK of Class Time?!
  Perseverance: An Entire WEEK of Class Time?!
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Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 2 of Project)

Unit 3: Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
Lesson 13 of 14

Objective: SWBAT create a stop-animation video that shows what happens on the molecular level during a simple chemical reaction.

Big Idea: Bonds are broken and atoms are rearranged before forming new bonds during a chemical reaction; Matter is conserved.

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